Saturday, December 13, 2008

Movie #27: Pan's Labyrinth

Technically, I only got about 1/3 of the way through this one--for purposes of the 30/30/30 thing--but I've decided to go ahead and keep posting movie reviews of all "new" movies as I watch them. I won't follow the 30-word rule, but I will keep them generally short and sweet. And who knows, perhaps when I find myself with an excessive amount of time on my hands in the future I will once again return to some sort of ill-advised monthly-movie-marathon. If there's one thing I can safely say, it's that I rarely, if ever, learn from my mistakes. I think this makes me the ultimate idealist.

Pan's Labyrinth was one of those movies I always wanted to see in theory, but given the fact that I generally dislike films with a strong fantasy element, and given that the film has subtitles, it was always hard to get motivated to watch it. Foolish me. Having seen almost all of Guillermo del Toro's previous films, including, most recently, Hellboy 2 (movie #10 for those keeping track), I should have known that Pan's Labyrinth would be as good as advertised. While known for his unique and dark visual style, the thing that makes del Toro's films appealing to me is his storytelling ability. Cool-looking creatures are never enough to hold my interest for an entire feature, but when sprinkled into a compelling narrative rooted in real world horror---in this case 1944 fascist Spain---the monsters, both real and fantasy, take on an even more menacing persona.

Grade: 9/10


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